It's been a beautiful gift of a day.
When I first went back to AA I chose a home group called Gratitude 24/7. At the time I thought people must be faking an attitude of gratitude and what they really needed was a dose of reality. I had no idea I'd been on a dry drunk for most of my sobriety, no idea what recovery looked like and no idea that gratitude was mine for the choosing. A dry drunk is not a rut I rest in very long these days. Most days on my walk I thank God for the ability to be grateful. Naming what I'm grateful for comes easily and that nearly makes me giddy. I realized one day this week as I was walking that what I was feeling was joy. I've spent so many years as a cynic. To find cynicism replaced with joy is pure gift.
None of this is possible on my own steam. I show up, I'm as open, willing and honest as I can be while my Higher Power works. I want God's will to be done in my life more than my own most of the time and when I don't I don't beat myself up for that anymore, either. Accepting my humanity has been so freeing. I can hardly fathom that progress is much more attractive to me these days than perfection. I know when I'm aching for perfection in myself or others that fear is the driving force behind it.
This month I've been chairing the meetings, getting there early to help set up when I can, and staying afterwards to visit. It's a concrete way to give back out of gratitude for someone else having done it before me, for making sure the door was open when I needed it. I used to dislike chairing meetings until my sponsor kidded me one day saying, "What's the matter, you scared of making a mistake?" Dang. She had me pegged just right. I don't take myself so seriously today and there's never a safer place to be human than in an AA meeting.
Today as the promises were being read I wanted to get up and dance. I wonder if I will ever get over the miracle that these promises are coming true in my life. I hope I never take them for granted.
Before I went to the meeting I finished up nearly all my Christmas shopping. That I could do that is a gift in itself. One I don't take for granted. We keep a fairly simple Christmas so the process is painless. That it's even an option is a gift. After my meeting I took oldest son's fiancee out for her birthday. She is a gift in herself. We had a nice lunch in a nice restaurant and a great visit. That taking her out for a meal was an option is a gift, too.
Dearest one chose more patience than not today when I accidentally hung up on him and then looked at my cell phone as it vibrated in my hand and thought, "oh it must do that when it's being turned off." Um, nope. It does that when someone is calling me. Like the person I accidentally hung up on who was done his class early and was stranded without a vehicle. The vehicle I was in when he phoned. And he chose to have more patience than not while in the midst of a wretched nicotine withdrawal fit.
Driving home later dearest one shared his reality in the face of nicotine withdrawal. If you only knew how much I have nagged him these past 25 years about his on and off smoking. How much I took it personally that he smoked. How much energy I've spent being resentful. Then you'd know what a gift it was that today I did none of that. I was more concerned about his quitting smoking cold turkey without a plan to deal with the stressors in his life than I was happy about his quitting. Addiction is addiction is addiction. And we set ourselves up to fail if we have no plan in place, no healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the issues that addiction temporarily relieves. So I was more relieved than not when dearest one stopped and bought a pack of smokes. Quitting will come in its time and accepting that I'm not the one who dictates the timetable is really a miracle.
It's been a beautiful gift of a day.